Do you remember the first time you jumped into a chilly swimming pool or a cold lake? (I bet some of us are shivering right now at the thought.) Remember that immediate sense that you really don’t want to be there? This past week I was meeting with a few other therapists who specialize in grief and loss and one told us about using this jump into the cold water as a metaphor for grief. The initial discomfort can be intense, however, after awhile most of us tend to adjust to the water and it does not feel as uncomfortable. Has the water temperature changed? Probably not. We have changed, we have accommodated. Could this be a metaphor for your grief?
Looking for more examples or explanations for how jumping into the water relates to grief, I came upon a blog written by the New York Times best-selling author, Chuck Wendig. In his blog of November 9, 2019 he responded to another author questioning how to get back on track after experiencing the death of a loved one. Mr. Wendig wrote,”Grief is water. Grief is a wave, river and lake, it is the sea, it is a current. You do not control it, you can only respond to it.”
So how do we respond? Differently! Everyone feels grief differently, the amount of time it takes to adjust to that shock of chilling water, to use the pool analogy, is not the same for everyone. Our culture promotes the misconception that there is an orderly process of emotions that will be felt by all, and that there is a time frame for this. So as you swim into this new year can you give yourself permission to grieve at your own pace, in your own way? Allowing yourself to slip back into your routines of daily life as you are ready.
Sunrises and sets
Days begin and days end
Love is eternal